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Aquifers Approaching Point of No Return

New studies warn that some of the world's largest aquifers may soon run dry, with no hope of ever filling again.
By: | July 1, 2015

A new pair of studies show many of the largest aquifers are being depleted at alarming rates. Out of 37 of the world’s largest aquifers, more than 21 are past sustainability tipping points, which means that the rate of withdrawal exceeds the rate of replenishment.

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Of those at highest risk, 13 are on the verge of exceeding the point at which they may not come back.

In a June 17 PBS NewsHour broadcast, Professor James S. Famiglietti of the University of California, Irvine, the lead author of one of those reports, discusses the potential impact of the dwindling supply of freshwater resources.

Famiglietti’s comments support those of experts interviewed for Aquifer: Nothing in the Bank, part of R&I’s April 2015 Emerging Risks special coverage. In the April article, experts discussed the deep impact of the depletion of California’s Central Valley aquifer on agriculture, as well as the ripple effects for real estate, construction, energy production and more.

VIDEO: Reports confirm that California’s Central Valley has been losing about 5.5. trillion gallons of groundwater per year for the last four years.

The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]